Micronutrient status is infrequently monitored and current recommendations for supplementation are nonspecific for hair loss in long-term parenteral nutrition. Studies are required to determine the incidence of marginal zinc, selenium, iron or biotin deficiencies that could manifest as hair loss.
What Causes Hair Loss
Hair loss can be caused by many triggers such as genetics, hormonal imbalances, nutritional status, extreme levels of stress, crash diets, extreme or sudden weight loss, serious diseases and medications.
Understanding the Science Behind Hair Loss
Human hair follicles are the most active structures in the human body and are responsible for producing hair. A hair follicle is a small cavity in the epidermis of the skin containing three major structures – the dermal papilla, hair matrix, and hair shaft.
The dermal papilla contains blood vessels that offer the nutrients needed for the growth of hair. The papilla is comprised of epithelial cells which produce keratin a protein that forms the fiber of the hair.
Numerous changes occur in the hair life-cycle from the age of around 35 onwards, resulting in a change in both the density and the appearance of the hair.
Less Hair Production
There is a reduction in the length of the growth this stage is called the Anagen phase; the time spent in the resting phase, Catagen, hair begins to lengthen, resulting in an extension in time between an old hair falling out and a new one growing.
Understanding the 3 stages of the hair growth cycle
Hormones play a significant role in hair loss, none more so than testosterone. Testosterone converts to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) with the support of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase, which is contained in the hair follicle’s oil glands.
The problem lies in the volume of DHT binding to receptors in scalp follicles: DHT can shrink the follicle of the hair, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive. This scenario occurs frequently in both men and women.
SIX amino acids reduce and prevent hair loss
Arginine L-arginine (often simply shortened to “Arginine“) is a very important semi-essential amino acid and can be produced by the body, but is often needed in larger quantities so the body relies on extra supplementation via the diet. The most important characteristic of Arginine is that it is the only reactant for the molecule NO (nitric oxide), which is a vasodilator, with characteristics to regulate vascular tone and the flexibility of blood vessels and a healthy cardiovascular system. It also helps to produce keratin (Approximately 25% of keratin is made from Cysteine which also indirectly assists with the protection of hair follicles from oxidative stress) and helps to minimize disease-related hair loss by enhancing immune function by protecting the hair from the damaging effects of chemicals.
The second major component of keratin is L-methionine an organic compound, one of the 20 amino acids commonly found in animal proteins, is one of the several essential amino acids needed in the diet since the human body cannot synthesize. Methionine supplies and is an important source of dietary sulfur, which is non-reactive, along with other compounds required by the body for normal metabolism and growth. Methionine also belongs to a group of compounds called lipotropics; others in this group include choline, inositol, and betaine. Methionine is one of only two amino acids encoded by just one codon (AUG) in the standard genetic code (tryptophan, encoded by UGG, is the other). L-methionine is minimally soluble in water.
Methionine functions, uses, and health benefits
Methionine reacts with adenosine triphosphate to form S-adenosyl methionine. S-adenosyl methionine is the principal methyl donor in the body and contributes to the synthesis of many important substances, including epinephrine and choline. The human body is not able to manufacture it by itself. That means that a constant blood serum level therefore has to be maintained through nutrition and diet. This amino acid is vital for the synthesis of the precursor to collagen called pro-collagen. The antioxidant methionine also helps to protect the hair follicles from oxidative stress. Research has shown that low concentrations of methionine cause a decline in hair health and growth diminishes. Another study suggests that methionine could also have an important role in slowing the greying of hair and hair thinning.
Dietary sources of methionine can be found in meat, fish, and dairy products and in fruits and vegetables, but not as abundantly. Small amounts of free L-methionine occur in vegetables, vegetable juices and fermented foods. Vegetarians can obtain methionine from whole grains.
The essential amino L-Lysine is one of the nine essential amino acids and one of the 22 proteinogenic amino acids. It cannot be produced by the human body and must be consumed in its entirety with the diet required for growth and tissue repair found in many foods, especially red meats, fish, and dairy products. Lysine seems to be active against herpes simplex viruses and present in many forms of diet supplements. The mechanism underlying this effect is based on the viral need for amino acid arginine; lysine competes with arginine for absorption and entry into cells which inhibits HSV growth by knocking out arginine. Lysine helps to stimulate collagen and is thus important for repairing damaged hair. Hair follicles also require lysine to properly function. Research has conclusively shown that hair loss can be reduced with lysine supplementation
Glycine is one of the non-essential amino acids and is used to help create muscle tissue and convert glucose into energy. It is also essential to maintaining healthy central nervous and digestive systems, but also helps to produce collagen, and has recently been shown to provide protection via antioxidants from some types of cancer. Abbreviated at G or Gly, this amino acid has the chemical formula NH2CH2COOH. It’s the second most widespread amino acid found in human enzymes and proteins. Glycine is biosynthesized in the liver from the amino acids, serine and threonine. As a solid, it’s a sweet tasting crystalline substance and the principle amino acid within cane sugar. In humans, it’s found in high concentrations within the skin, connective tissues and muscle tissues. High-protein foods, such as fish, meat, beans, milk, and cheese, are the best dietary sources of glycine. Glycine is also available in capsule and powder forms, and as part of many combination amino acid supplements.
Proline is a nonessential amino acid needed for the production of collagen and cartilage. The body makes proline from glutamic acid, and deficiency is rare in healthy individuals with a healthy diet. It keeps muscles and joints flexible and helps reduce sagging and wrinkling that accompany UV exposure and normal aging of the skin. Proline helps the body break down proteins for use in creating healthy cells in the body. It is absolutely essential to the development and maintenance of healthy skin and connective tissues, especially at the site of traumatic tissue injury. Proline and lysine are both needed to make hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, two amino acids that form collagen. Collagen helps to heal cartilage and to cushion the joints and vertebrae. For this reason, proline supplementation may prove beneficial for treatment of conditions such as osteoarthritis, persistent soft tissue strains, and chronic back pain.
The body needs proline to maintain muscle tissue as well as decreased proline levels have been noted in prolonged endurance runners and others following prolonged exercise. Serious athletes that subject their body to routine, rigorous workouts may want to take a supplement containing proline in order to avoid losing muscle mass—the body begins to cannibalize its muscle for energy when glucose supplies run low. Also people recovering from traumatic injury, particularly skin injuries such as severe burns, may want to supplement this amino acid. People with pain caused by insufficient cartilage or collagen formation could benefit from extra proline in their diet as well. Meat, dairy, and eggs are the best natural sources of proline; vegetarians or those with a low-protein diet should seriously consider a combination amino acid supplement containing. Proline supplements are available in stand-alone capsules and tablets, but this amino acid is also often included in supplements marketed for treatment of specific conditions, such as herpes (in combination with lysine), arthritis, or back pain, or in supplements or sports drinks marketed for body builders and athletes. Proline may be in supplements used to promote cardiovascular health, usually in combination with vitamin C the dose is between 500 milligrams and 1,000 milligrams daily.
People with liver or kidney disease should not take this or any other amino acid supplement without first consulting their physician. Getting too much of any one amino acid can throw the citric acid cycle out of balance, which makes the liver and kidneys work harder to eliminate toxins.
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